Don’t look now but the Arizona Coyotes are on a win-streak again. After an embarrassing loss to the Ottawa Senators, they returned home and beat the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders back-to-back.
The Coyotes started their game against the Islanders strong with a goal from Clayton Keller less than five minutes into the first period. They would keep that up with a strong second period where they outshot the Islanders 12-6. They would follow that with another early period goal when Conor Garland scored his 20th goal of the season for the game-winner.
Getting Keller and Garland going is going to be key for the Coyotes as the season comes to an end. Garland’s sophomore season has been stellar, but the Coyotes need all of their top players to get going. The Coyotes can use more consistent offense, and things aren’t going to get any easier as the season comes to an end.
Not only did the Coyotes beat two really good teams in a row, but they also held both the Capitals and Islanders to just one goal each. When Antti Raanta was sidelined with injuries again there were concerns over his play but he has been stellar as of late. With the offense being inconsistent the Coyotes are going to need to rely on their goaltending more and more.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes didn’t gain much ground in the playoff race, but they are keeping pace. They are one point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets having played one more game, and three points ahead of the Nashville Predators having played three more games. In the tight Pacific Division though they are two points behind the Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights, having played three and one more games respectively.
It’s not just the Pacific Division, the entire Western Conference is weird this season. The Dallas Stars are currently second in the Central Division with 74 points. They are only two points behind the St Louis Blues.
Dallas has been stellar in February. They are coming into tonight’s game having with points in their last five games, and are 6-1-2 in February. Their last game was a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators.
Key to Dallas’ success is their stellar defense and goaltending. The Stars are 25th in goals scored with 159, but they are 2nd in goals-against having allowed only 149. Ben Bishop has a 2.38 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage while Anton Khudobin has a 2.33 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. No matter who the Coyotes face it will be a tough matchup.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Christian Dvorak - While Garland leading the team with 20 goals, Dvorak isn’t far behind with 18. He had an assist against the Islanders and a goal against the Capitals.
Dallas: Joe Pavelski - Pavelski hasn’t been great this season, but he has been on a hot streak as of late. He is riding a seven-game point streak, with 9 points in those games.
Arizona: Jason Demers (oblique), Darcy Kuemper (lower body)
Dallas: Alexander Radulov (questionable, upper body), Justin Dowling (lower body), Martin Hanzal (back)
Tonight’s game will be in Dallas and will begin at 6:30 pm Arizona time. It will air on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.